How Coconut Oil Can Naturally Boost The Health Of Your Hair
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that coconut oil is all the rage these days. It’s been touted as both a superfood and a wellness product, with devotees advocating all sorts of uses ranging from plant-based cooking to oil pulling to beautifying the skin and hair.
Turns out, you should believe the hype when it comes to coconut oil. It truly does offer a myriad of benefits, many of them backed with scientific findings. In this post, we’ll explore the specific benefits of coconut oil for your hair, from sun protection to deep conditioning and many more!
What Is Coconut Oil?
What is coconut oil, anyway? Also referred to as copra oil, coconut oil is extracted from the meat of coconuts.
As you may be aware, coconut oil is extremely high in fat, containing about 90 percent saturated fat. But fat isn’t something to fear when it comes to your beauty routine: as it turns out, this high fat content is a big part of what makes coconut oil so beneficial to the hair.
There are two key types of coconut oil that you’ll typically see sold in stores: coconut oil, and fractionated coconut oil.
Fractionated coconut oil is a version of coconut oil that has been distilled down to its medium-chain fatty acids, which means it’s even higher in saturated fat than regular coconut oil, and will remain liquid even at room temperature, as opposed to regular coconut oil which is solid when cool and becomes liquid when warm.
Both types of coconut oil can be used on the hair, though if using regular coconut oil it may be easier to apply if you slightly warm it so that it is in a liquid state.
Coconut Oil Benefits For Hair
To say that coconut oil is beneficial for the hair would be an understatement. It’s more like an all-in-one hair beautifying solution, with the ability to condition, soften, and protect your locks.
Coconut oil’s high fat content, natural emollient properties, and incredible moisturizing capabilities make it the perfect choice to add to your hair care routine. Let’s take an in depth look at the specific benefits of coconut oil for the hair:
Improves Hair Dryness
Snap, crackle, pop! That might be great for your breakfast cereal, but it’s not what you want to feel and hear when you brush your hair. If your hair has become dried-out and brittle, coconut oil could provide some much-needed TLC.
To understand how coconut oil can help moisturize the hair, let’s take a quick look at the three parts of each hair strand. They are:
Medulla: this is the center of the hair shaft, or the soft part in the middle.
Cortex: The thickest part of your hair, which hugs around the medulla. This portion of the hair is chock full of protein and contains the pigment that colors your hair.
Cuticle: The sturdiest outer layer of your hair.
The wear and tear that comes with everyday styling products and treatments can damage the cuticle layer of the hair, leaving the cortex and medulla vulnerable to damage.
Coconut oil is easily absorbed into the hair, penetrating deep into the follicle. It can help replace proteins in the cortex, and it can help reinforce the cuticle, filling in any damaged portions and helping the hair retain moisture. Overall, this can leave the hair softer, and acts as a detangler to boot!
Improves Scalp Health
Coconut oil is known to be an effective moisturizer for the skin. But most people forget that it’s not just the face and body that need moisture--the scalp does, too!
When the scalp becomes dry, it can become dry and flaky, leaving you prone to dandruff and more susceptible to infections. Who wants that?
Additionally, it’s important to remember that your hair grows from your scalp, so if your scalp isn’t healthy and adequately moisturized, you’re not giving your hair the ideal conditions to grow healthily.
Coconut oil can deeply moisturize the scalp, which not only prevents dry skin and dandruff, but creates a healthy environment for your hair to grow!
Protects Hair from Protein Loss
Earlier, we talked about the three parts of hair: the medulla, cortex, and cuticle. The middle layer--the cortex--is the biggest portion of the hair, residing between the outer cuticle and outside of the most tender part, the medulla. It contains a significant amount of proteins, which are responsible for keeping hair buoyant and healthy.
Everyday things like sun exposure and styling products can cause the outer layer of the hair can become damaged. With the outer layer unable to properly protect the rest of the hair follicle, proteins can be lost from the hair, making it lose its luster and strength.
According to one study that tested the effects of various oils on hair health and damage control, participants who used coconut oil had the lowest protein loss in their hair.
The reason? Potentially the fact that coconut oil contains lauric acid, which could help bolster hair proteins and smooth over rough patches.
Protects Hair From UV Exposure
The sun isn’t a bad thing: you actually need time in the sun for optimal health. However, it’s important to know when to say when. Too much exposure to UV rays can lead to all sorts of negative health effects, including skin and eye damage, increased risk for skin cancer, and of course--damaged, dry hair.
No doubt about it, dry hair is a downer. It’s less manageable, more prone to flyaways, and tends to be duller in appearance. Oh, and it’s more prone to breakage.
Coconut oil can help protect the hair from UV exposure--according to one study, it can block up to 20% of UV rays! It can also help reduce damage that has already occurred by deeply moisturizing the hair and smoothing over damaged portions.
To protect your hair with coconut oil, work either some fractionated coconut oil or liquid coconut oil into the hair (and the skin while you’re at it!). It helps to form a sort of protective seal, helping protect your luscious locks from the sun’s blazing rays.
Supports Hair Growth
Everyone wants strong, healthy hair, right?
While coconut oil won’t necessarily help your hair grow faster, it can help create an environment that fosters healthy hair growth.
Environmental factors, styling products, and hair tools like flat irons and curlers can cause damage to the hair, leading dryness and split ends. These things can hinder hair growth.
Coconut oil, with its moisturizing properties for the hair and scalp, its ability to help the hair retain protein, and its ability to create a protective seal around the hair, can help keep your hair and scalp as healthy as possible. As a bonus, rubbing coconut oil into the scalp could improve circulation. This means that you’re giving your hair the healthiest possible environment in which to grow!
Adds Volume and Shine
In reading this article, you’ve already learned that coconut oil can help the hair retain protein, soften its texture, moisturize the hair and scalp, and help form a protective seal from damaging elements like the sun’s UV rays.
So you already know that coconut oil can do good things for your hair...but how does it show up in terms of your hair’s appearance?
Let’s start with the texture of the hair. Since coconut oil is a natural emollient, it can help smooth out rough or damaged portions of the hair, helping nourish and moisturize each follicle. Not only does this make your hair easier to brush, but it gives it a gorgeous shine and silky texture, too.
In terms of the hair’s thickness, since coconut oil can help the hair retain protein and help form a protective layer around the outermost layer of the hair follicle, it can help your hair retain volume and elasticity, which means you’re more likely to have beautiful hair with the perfect amount of bounce!
Ways To Use Coconut Oil For Hair
Curious about how to use coconut oil as part of your beauty routine? Here are some common uses for coconut oil in hair care.
Of course, it’s important to note that for best results, it’s important to use a high quality coconut oil. ArtNaturals Fractionated Coconut Oil is a high quality product that is responsibly sourced...it’s the perfect addition to your haircare repertoire!
Coconut oil is a fantastic all-natural conditioner. For easy application, shampoo your hair per your usual routine, then rub coconut oil through your hair, giving special attention to the ends.
What’s a hair mask? It’s kind of like a face mask, but...you know, for your hair. There are plenty of DIY recipes to be found on the internet, or you can purchase an already-prepared hair mask such as ArtNaturals Coconut Oil & Lime Hair Mask.
To use the latter, finger comb a quarter-sized dollop on freshly washed hair, from roots to tips. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes (or up to 20 minutes for deeper conditioning) and rinse thoroughly.
If you’re prone to dandruff, use coconut oil as a preventative measure. Rub coconut oil into the scalp, taking the time to rub it in evenly and thoroughly...it’s fine if it gets on your hair, too!). Leave the oil on for a few minutes (use a cap for maximum absorption), then rinse thoroughly.
Yep: coconut oil can act as an all-natural replacement for chemical laden styling gels. After showering, massage a small amount of oil into your hair, avoiding the scalp unless you have very dry skin/hair. As your hair dries, you’ll find that you have fewer flyaways and your hair has better defined waves!
Lice Prevention and Treatment
When afflicted with lice, most people turn to chemicals to kill off the unwelcome visitors. While these high octane products can get rid of lice, they can strip your hair in the process. According to one study, coconut oil (when combined with anise) in a treatment was even more effective than the popular treatment of the chemical permethrin.
When it comes to caring for your hair, consider adding coconut oil to your routine. Not only is it completely natural, but it’s an all-star beauty product that boasts all sorts of benefits. To review:
Coconut oil is extracted from the meat of coconuts.
Coconut oil contains about 90 percent saturated fat; these “good fats” are part of what makes coconut oil so beneficial for the hair.
Coconut oil is a natural emollient, meaning it can soften and moisturize the hair.
Coconut oil can help reduce existing damage to the hair and prevent further damage by protecting and nourishing all three parts of the hair follicle.
Coconut oil can be used as a conditioner, hair mask, scalp treatment, styling product, and may even be able to prevent or reduce symptoms of head lice.
Always use a high quality coconut oil for the best results. Consider adding ArtNaturals Fractionated Coconut Oil to your hair care repertoire!
What’s your favorite way to use coconut oil in your hair care routine?